Located just outside of Los Angeles, in a sleepy pocket of Woodland Hills called Walnut Acres, designer Sarah Solis set her sights on her dream home — though it took a little vision to come to that conclusion. The property was a 1980s time capsule when she and her family first moved in, with many awkward additions made over the years. There was a winding hallway that was more like a maze to get from the main part of the house to the primary bedroom, and a giant bathroom without any windows — but it did have a jacuzzi tub on a pedestal built of light pink porcelain tiles! The family room was a converted porch with an awkward brick fireplace in the corner, but this led to one of the highlights: almost a full acre with a tennis court, pool, and nice big yard with lush gardens.
Three years later and after an extensive remodel, the designer is now very happy to call the Rustic Modern Farmhouse home. In a recent interview, she shared more about the process, including what she loves most about the updated space:
When it comes to a remodel, there are of course two parts: Structurally, what were your priorities for the remodel? And aesthetically, what was your vision for the decor?
I really wanted to re-envision the California Ranch house as our urban farm as we have animals, chickens and love to garden. We also needed to maximize the floor plan for function and light that best suited our family. So many of these old houses of this architecture missed the opportunity for great light, and I immediately could see how to “let the light in.”
My priorities were to space plan and change the window layout, and then I needed to add some vaulted ceilings. Some areas needed to breathe, so I vaulted those areas, while others we just needed to play into cozy and intimate. We ended up vaulting the family room ceiling and the bedrooms. We maintained the lower ceilings in other areas but added decorative beams or ceiling paneling to play up the cozy vibes.
What do you love most about the design?
Overall, I love the way the light moves throughout the house, and how we were really able to accomplish opening up the feeling without blowing out every wall. We were able to maintain a combination of a open and closed floor plans, which is a really special accomplishment. Architecturally there is a great play on open vs. closed spaces so you always feel cozy in the house — the bedroom and the family room have these great open vaulted ceilings and the other rooms are lower, which creates a nice dichotomy of open space and tucked aways corners. It’s so livable for a family but it feels like each moment has a story and feels inspired.
As a designer, do you feel like the home is “done” or will it continue to evolve?
This space is officially done, though I have lots of others that are still in progress to keep my design buzz going!
See more + snag Sarah’s designer insight in the slideshow.